Tag Archives: Shark Attack

Shark Attack 10/05/09

Shark Attacks Boat

It sounds like a scene from the Jaws franchise of movies but a West Australian man was attacked by a shark while in his boat.

A FISHERMAN came face-to-face with a massive great white shark after falling from his dinghy in Cockburn Sound in Western Australia yesterday morning.

PerthNow reports that the Rockingham man, aged in his 30s, fell into the sea as he tried to defend himself against a 4.5m shark that rammed his small aluminium fishing boat from behind at 7am.

In a terrifying chain of events described by sea rescue volunteers, the man tried to deter the shark from chewing on his outboard motor by hitting it on the nose with an oar.

But the man-eating monster grabbed the oar and as the fisherman attempted to retrieve it, he toppled into the water.

The boat, which the man was preparing to anchor, was still in gear and motored away from him towards shore, preventing him from climbing aboard.The shark circled the man four or five times before he was able to flee. He began a frantic two nautical mile swim to shore and was picked up by a fisherman after half an hour.

Yes, yes, a fisherman and “the one that got away”.  This report is interesting because the man was not in the water but on a boat to begin with, and it’s also rather unseasonal. Summer is long gone so it’s a little curious this big Great White is doing this right now. Having said that, the article points out it’s not far from where Brian Guest was taken in December 2008.

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Shark Attack 01.03.09

Northern Beaches Closed After Attack

Here’s the article.

Six northern Sydney beaches remain closed after a teenager was attacked by a shark this morning while surfing with his father.

15-year-old Andrew Lindop suffered severe leg lacerations when he was attacked by a shark about 6.45am at Avalon Beach, in the city’s north.

His leg was bitten down to the bone, but police said an examination by ambulance staff indicated he had not suffered any breaks or fractures.

Police said the boy’s father heard a scream and turned to see his son thrashing about in the water.

An onlooker says the boy’s father helped his son – who was conscious the entire time and joking about the size of the shark – to paddle back to the beach.

A NSW ambulance spokesman said a boy was airlifted to hospital after being attacked in the water at the northern end of Avalon Beach, in the city’s north, about 6.45am (AEDT).

I put the over-under of shark attack deaths at 4 this summer but nobody’s died just yet. So far the attacks are sitting at 5 to my knowledge. Watch out for the outcry to do something about the sharks soon. The sharks sure are keeping me busy this year. 🙂

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Shark Attack 13/02/09

This Time In Bondi

Within a couple of days of the previous attack, we get news that another person has been attacked by a shark

A BIT of skin was all that connected a surfer’s left hand to his arm last night after a shark attack at Bondi – the second shark attack in Sydney this week.

The surfer,  Glenn Orgias, 33, of Dover Heights, suffered deep cuts to his arm when he was attacked by the shark while surfing the break off South Bondi about 8pm.

Oh dear. Surfing at 8pm? Isn’t that like feeding time for sharks? Doesn’t the woman at the start of ‘Jaws’ get it because she’s swimming in dusk? Or was that dawn?

The bit that got a laugh out of me was this bit: 

It was initially understood that there had not been a recorded shark attack at Bondi since 1929, when Colin Stewart, 14, was killed and four weeks later John Gibson, 39, the son of a Melbourne department store owner, lost his life. 

But Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said there had been attacks there in 1951 and 1936.

1929… let’s see now… Hmmm wasn’t that the year of the great stock market crash? Who knew sharks played the stock market? Judging from most financial types, I probably shouldn’t be surprised. 🙂 

It was pointed out to me today that Sydney Harbour’s brimming with fish stocks so it is unsurprising that more sharks are drawn to the harbour. Chalk that up as another explanation.

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Sydney Harbour Shark Attack 11/02/09

Here We Go Again

This time it was right smack bang in Sydney Harbour where a Navy diver got attacked by a bull shark.

Able Seaman Paul Degelder, 31, of the clearance diving team based at HMAS Penguin at Balmoral,  is in a serious but stable condition following the attack at Woolloomooloo Bay, in Sydney’s inner east, just before 7am today.

A NSW ambulance spokesman said he suffered severe injuries to his right hand and leg and is serious but stable in St Vincents Hospital.

Able Seaman Degelder was taking part in the Kondari Trial, a test of new technologies to protect ports and ships from terrorist attack, which began on Monday.

A spokesman for the Defence Science and Technology Organisation said it was likely the trial would be cancelled today.

A defence spokesman said it was the first recorded attack on a navy clearance diver.

He said no shark repellent equipment was used as the equipment was only used in water deemed to be a high risk of shark attack.

Sydney Harbour had been assessed as being low risk, he said.

There was also no sonar equipment being used.

The spokesman said the attack would be subject to an investigation.

Hmmm. As long time readers know it’s been this blog’s contention that shark attacks are a lot more prevalent and frequent than common wisdom had led us to presume. I’ve certainly been dissuaded of the notion that only a few peopledie in shark attacks, decades apart. It’s not true. It’s more like a couple a year, with 4-5 attacks a season. So far we’ve seen about 4 attacks this summer without any deaths, which is very lucky. I would hve expected a death by now.

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Shark Attack 13/01/09

More Sharks, More People, More Attacks

Since I last wrote about sharks, there was a 48 hour span in which 3 separate attacks were reported in 3 locations.

The first came in from Tasmania.

Mr Mundy was still in a state of disbelief when he spoke at the St Helens District Hospital in Tasmania, describing graphically how a casual surf at Binalong Bay almost ended in tragedy.

“We were just surfing and she was probably five or 10 metres out in front of me,” he said.

“The next thing I know she screamed and disappeared under the water.

“She came up and was fighting the shark and hitting it and screaming: ‘Help me, help me, help me.’ We didn’t see it coming.

“It dragged her around a bit and then she went down and under again. I was really worried. There was blood all in the water.

“It brought her up to the top again and I paddled over to her and tried to push it with the board and tried to hit it but I don’t think it felt it really. It was a pretty big shark – a monster.

“It would have had two goes at her. She’s lucky she didn’t lose her leg.

“Hannah kept a really good head on her – kept it together.

“It grabbed her surfboard and dragged that under and she still had her leg rope on and it dragged her under again.

“The shark started circling us and coming up underneath us and when it did that we stopped and turned to face it so we could push it out of the way or poke it in the eye or something.

“She kept it together. There was blood everywhere and I didn’t know whether it was going to try and bite her again.

“Then a wave came along and I said ‘No matter how weak you are, try and hang on. This wave is going to save our lives.’

“And then we caught that wave to the beach, dragged her up on the beach and saw her leg had been mauled.

“It was pretty deep, in behind her knee was deep. You could almost see the bone. It was pretty horrible really.

“We were lucky the water was cold. It slowed her heart rate so when we pulled her out of the water the leg wasn’t spurting blood everywhere.

Pretty grim. That one was most likely a Great White, but it’s hard to say for sure.  The next came from up the NSW Coast.

Jonathon Beard, 31, of Brisbane, was surfing with friends at Fingal Beach about 9.30am when he was bitten on his upper left thigh. Surfers said he was sitting on his board near a group of dolphins when the shark attacked.

“He was screaming, ‘Shark’, then we saw the white water and the turbulence and the pigment in the water [and] quickly realised it was serious,” one of Mr Beard’s friends told Channel Seven.

Three of them paddled back to shore where they used a surfboard leg rope to stem the bleeding until paramedics arrived. The RACQ CareFlight helicopter and the NSW Ambulance Service were called to the scene. Kang Lim, a doctor who treated Mr Beard, said the bite was about 40 centimetres long, from the surfer’s knee to his hip, and five to 10 centimetres deep.

That one was likely a Bull Shark too. Down on the South Coast of NSW came this story.

The man was snorkelling under the Windang Bridge on Lake Illawarra when what is believed to have been a bull shark bit him on the leg, about 10.50am.

He was swimming in a school of fish when he noticed a brown shadow behind him. His leg was then bitten, NSW Ambulance spokeswoman Fiona Kruit said.

“He’s punched this brown shadow and it’s let go,” she said.

The man told paramedics he thought it was a bull shark.

Ms Kruit said a few bull sharks had been spotted in the area recently in search of bait fish.

“He has 40-odd puncture wounds to his calf but they haven’t caused any muscle or tissue damage and he’s got some abrasions to his right fist where he’s punched the shark,” she said.

Hmmm. I think The Mythbusters tried busting the ‘myth’ of the guy who poked the shark in the eye (ep.0608).

Can you poke a shark in the eye when it has you in its grip?: PLAUSIBLE- It will take too long to find the eye. You would be dead. But you could poke the eye if in the right position.

Except this guy Jsaon Cull says he did it.

Mr Cull said he saw a dark shape in the water and thought it was a dolphin.

“It was much bigger than a dolphin when it came up. It banged straight into me – I realised what it was, it was a shark,” he told reporters from his hospital bed.

“I sort of punched it, and it grabbed me by the leg and dragged me under the water.

“I just remember being dragged backwards underwater. I felt along it, I found its eye and I poked it in the eye, and that’s when it let go.”

Not exactly busted, if somebody actually did it. 🙂

More hilariously, Vic Hislop, famed shark hunter and model for Captain Quint in ‘Jaws’ chimed in with his theory.

…shark hunter Vic Hislop, who told Macquarie Radio that 200 years of over-fishing in Australian waters had turned the attention of big sharks to “gentler” prey such as dugong, turtles and dolphins.

“That’s what’s in their stomach now every day,” Mr Hislop said.

“As the turtles disappear, which is inevitable, and the dugong herds disappear, humans are next in line on the food chain.

“It will definitely get worse.”

NSW Department of Primary Industries shark biologist Vic Peddemor said Mr Hislop’s theory was wrong and attacks on humans were almost always a case of mistaken identity.

“It’s complete and total rubbish,” Dr Peddemor said from the Gold Coast, where he was waiting to examine shark attack victim Jonathon Beard.

“Most species of shark have evolved over millions of years to eat very specific prey items.

“There are only a handful of sharks capable of eating large marine mammals and of the ones that come close it’s the tiger shark, the bull shark and of course the great white.

“They are designed to eat marine mammal fat and blubber and we don’t have that.

“Even our blood is very different to that of marine mammals so they haven’t evolved to have the taste for either our body tissue or blood.”

Despite three attacks on humans in the past two days, Dr Peddemor said shark attacks were still very rare considering the “millions of man hours” we spent in the water.

“Occasionally somebody will get bitten and it’s inevitably a case of mistaken identity,” he said.

The good news is nobody’s dead. In my humble opinion, the over-and-under  for Australian Shark fatalities is still 4 deaths.

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Shark Attack 28/12/08

A Monstrously Large White Pointer
I haven’t heard of a shark attack for a while, so I have yet to post a shark attack post. One of the things I’ve been tracking in the news is shark attacks and other  wild-life-encounters-one-would-regret articles. Today’s attack news comes from Perth, West Australia.

Brian Guest, 51, was in the ocean south of Perth, Western Australia, when locals reported “something pretty violent” out in the water.
His 24-year-old son raised the alarm as rescuers began a search for Mr Guest, described as an experienced swimmer and diver who knew the area well.
Australia has had one other fatal shark attack in 2008, off the eastern coast.
Surfer Peter Edmonds, 16, was taken by a shark off the coast of New South Wales at Ballina in April.

Witnesses and officials admitted that the latest incident, which happened near Rockingham, to the south of Perth, bore the hallmarks of a shark attack.
Mr Guest and his son were reportedly snorkelling for crabs in familiar waters when they were attacked.
“There was lots of talk among witnesses at the incident location about seeing fins in the water but we can’t yet say whether there was definitely a shark out there, though in all probability that’s what it is,” Mark Valentine, a local police inspector, told the Australian Associated Press.
“Something very traumatic and pretty violent has happened there and we are treating it as a probable shark attack,” he added.
Other witnesses reported that a shark had been spotted in the area during the search.
A family friend said Mr Guest’s son had been swimming close to his father at the time of the attack although he did not see it happen. He quickly ran ashore to raise the alarm.
He said the family was assuming the worst.

I did blog the Edmonds attack in April on my old blog. One of the things that is becoming apparent to me as I keep track of the shark attacks is that if we are in their habitat more and more, and their food is diminishing due to over fishing, it seems inevitable that we are seeing more shark attacks off our coasts.

One of the prevailing wisdoms of Australian beaches has been that shark attacks are rare, but for years I’ve thought this wisdom was apocryphal and under-researched. If you keep Google News open as I have in the last few years, there are at least 3-5 shark fatalities in a year off the coast of Australia.

Naturally, surfers and divers are most at risk, but both sports have seen a rise in participation rates so it stands as reasonable to expect these kinds of numbers.

Indeed, Shark spottings and sightings are up.

BEACHGOERS are being warned to be alert for sharks because of a surge in sightings at popular swimming beaches this summer.

So far this month, Surf Life Saving South Australia’s aerial patrol has spotted sharks 39 times along the state’s coastline – the same number for the entire summer of 2007-08 and more than 2005-06.

In the past week there have been 10 separate shark sightings off metropolitan beaches, including five yesterday.

Swimmers were evacuated from Grange beach yesterday after a 3m bronze whaler was sighted 20m offshore about 12.30pm.

The four other sightings were another at Grange, two at Henley Beach and one at Port Willunga.

There was also a shark sighting at Sydney’s Bondi Beach yesterday which saw around 1000 bathers evacuated from the water.

Bondi lifeguard Anthony Carroll was surfing before going on duty when he spotted the shark snacking on fish.

“I saw the dorsal fins and the side fins,” he said. “It looked like a jet-ski coming through a wave.”

He said the shark was almost black, had a thick girth and was between 2m and 2.5m.

Surf Life Saving SA state manager Shane Daw said the increased numbers could partly be attributed to more fish in Gulf St Vincent.

“We have noticed this year that there are more fish moving through the gulf and obviously that’s an attraction and therefore we’re asking for people to be conscious and aware that we are still getting a number of sightings,” he said.

“We ask them where possible to swim at patrolled beaches so that if there are sightings they can be alerted as soon as possible.

Andrew Fox, who is the son of shark attack victim Rodney Fox, said increased sightings could lead to greater risk of attacks.

Similar warnings of increased sightings before the 2004-05 summer were tragically followed weeks later by the death of Nick Peterson, 18, about 400m offshore from West Beach, SA.

Whatever the reason, the sharks are swimming closer to bathers, surfers and divers. There was even a sighting on Boxing Day at Bondi Beach.

Mr Carroll said he saw the shark about 50m from where they were paddling, in the middle of the bay off Bondi.

“I saw the dorsal fins and the side fins,” he said. “It looked like a jet-ski coming through a wave.”

He said the shark was almost black, had a thick girth and was between 2m and 2.5m.

The shark alarm sounded about 10.40am and bathers were kept from the water for almost 30 minutes as lifeguards, surf lifesavers and helicopters combed the area for further signs. But the shark was not seen again, a lifeguard said.

I’m placing the over-under for shark attack fatalities in Australian waters at 4 this summer.

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